I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived in Greece for two weeks to volunteer with Loggerhead Turtles, but the reality that I experienced there was better than anything I could have imagined. All the things that many teenagers would shy away from early mornings, physical labor and basic accommodation, somehow combined together to provide the best time of my life.
Often we would have to get up, have breakfast and leave the campsite before 6AM in the morning, and at the time I would have rather been in bed, but these early mornings have become some of my fondest memories.
I think part of the brilliance of this program, is it’s uniqueness in working, for no reason other than your belief in the cause, with wild animals in their natural environment. It is something everyone should do once in their life.
It was such a rewarding project to be involved in, as at the end of each day, I could see the nests that I had protected, and know that I had done my part towards saving the turtles, and saving the planet. One of the staff members who was supervising us said, “the best feeling on earth is saving a life that can never repay you”. Helping to save those turtles made me see the truth behind these words.
I hope to volunteer again in the future, it broadened my horizons and helped me experience things I could never understand at home. The most memorable part of my volunteering was the night surveys we did, walking along the beach after dark, trying to spot turtles that had come onto the shore to lay their eggs. Sitting on a beach, under the stars at 2 AM, fueled on energy drinks and sandwiches, waiting for a turtle to crawl out of the ocean is the best memory of my time in Greece.
Since returning to England, I haven’t stopped recommending the Under 18 Sea Turtle Conservation project to my family and friends, it will change your life like it changed mine.